Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE LAP YOU TURNED? "The biggest thing is we've been a little bit behind, not really because of our race cars or anything like that. We've had a lot of bad luck.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo
WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE LAP YOU TURNED?
"The biggest thing is we've been a little bit behind, not really because of our race cars or anything like that. We've had a lot of bad luck. That's just the way it goes. Richard has really been on everybody in the motor department, the fab shop, and they've all stepped it up. Now, everything came together and they ripped off a lap. I didn't do anything but ride around in it. That's just a tribute to not only the GM Goodwrench team, but every department and person at RCR because at some point every team and every member of RCR has had their hands on every car that they race. It's a tribute to everybody."
"We got behind. Those guys aren't used to being behind at RCR. And they're used to being somewhere at least close to the front, and we're sitting back 30th in points. They take that pretty personally. They've all stepped up. They worked seven days a week, from seven in the morning until whatever time they need to stay until. It's a tight knit bunch of people, we all live up close to each other in Winston-Salem or somewhere in that vicinity. Unfortunately, some of them commute back and forth. It's a really close bunch of guys and all these guys that I work with now are from the Busch car or most of them come from the Busch car and I enjoy working with them. It's a sign of good things to come and we're looking forward to it."
HOW'S THE TRANSITION BEEN AND HOW MUCH HAS IT HURT YOU TO BE NOT RUNNING THE BUSCH SERIES?
"I think last year the Busch car carried the Winston Cup car. I could be wrong. You'll never know, because you never can tell. Every time we had a really good Busch car we had a really good Winston Cup car, and for some reason last year everything that I did in the Busch car translated pretty close to the Winston Cup car. This year Jeff Green from his Busch car, to ours, to his Winston Cup car, not really anything translated, so something is a little bit different there. The transition from the crew has been really easy. I'm good friends with Gil Martin and his wife and son and have known them ever since he's been there for the last two and a half years. I worked with him on the Busch car and the Busch car is a lot like we had the Winston Cup teams arranged now. Everybody works with everybody's stuff and here at the race track it's back and forth. I'm comfortable with Gil and Flash and all the guys that came from 31, because they were all from the Busch car."
WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN, LOOKING AHEAD AND CHICAGO BEING A NEW START?
"Last couple of months I've had to JUST sit back and not say anything about anything and just avoided everything that was going on and just to concentrate on our race teams and our people and really making sure everybody understood where everybody was coming from. Richard and myself and all the guys have just been kind of sitting back and laughing about everything that's been written and going on and (we're) just really taking it and putting it in our back pocket and just going forward. We're getting ready to extend our deal with Richard. Never once have Richard and I been angry at each other and -- I don't even know what else I heard. Everything is really stable and really solid and we're all in this together. The 29 team, the 30 and 31 are, we're all in this battle together. We're going to climb the mountain and get back to the top of it."
"There've been a lot of personal jabs I think that I've taken, myself, Richard and the company and I think there's a lot of different reasons why it happened. Last year a lot people gave us reason to sit and tell us we couldn't do something, and at the end of the year we all thought we had won the argument. We overcame everything that everybody said we couldn't do and we did it. And this hurdle, I don't believe, is near as big as the hurdle we had to cross last year. Because the hole that the organization left Daytona in last year was a lot deeper, a lot more personal than this one. This is all about race cars and a number that you finish, that everybody reads in the newspapers. When we left here last year everybody that lost a friend a buddy and a mentor -- you all know how that went -- so this is a minor hole compared to last year's."
ON THE FRIENDS YOU'VE MADE OR NOT MADE:
"There's a lot of fair-weather people that were around us, around our group and all of a sudden things go bad and it's just amazing how people don't come around anymore. I mean even today. Media, fans, all people. It's not just here or in the garage. It's people in general. There's not one group of people that you can point a finger at, but there's a vast group of people. I think myself, and even Richard, have learned a lot from this situation. It hasn't been a career year in the stat books on the race track but it's been a career year for us personally. To know who we need around us and who we don't need around us. And that's important in this sport."
NASCAR PILGRIMAGE TO A GOAT UP NORTH WITH NO. 3 ON THE SIDE. WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT THE NASCAR FANS? "I think the goat's pretty cool. Our fans are a different breed than most fans, I think, They're very dedicated, and loyal fans and I think Dale Earnhardt means more to people than anyone since pretty much Elvis Presley, so it means a lot and anything that reminds anyone of Dale Earnhardt has obviously become a shrine and the goat has become a shrine."
DO YOU FEEL THE FANS WILL STAY LOYAL TO YOU OR HAVE GONE OVER TO DALE JR.?
"We have really a lot of loyal fans. I don't think Dale Jr. has run a whole lot better than we have of late. We've all been up and down and I think our legion of fans are really, really loyal. I don't feel that we've lost a whole lot of fans through anything. Everyone has stuck behind us, on our website and in the garage. They've all seen it with RCR before. They come down and they go back up. They overcome some of the biggest obstacles I think anyone has ever overcome in this garage. You talk to Richard and he's just like well, we did this back in 1975 or 1980. This happened and we overcame this. He's just overcome so many obstacles, so many hurdles that at some point or another he's been there and done that, been down, he's been up. He's been all the way at the bottom and he's been all the way at the top. Everything in between he's got a situation he can relate it to. I'm pretty luck to have an owner like that that can relate to all the different situations."
ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT 09 (GEOFFREY BODINE) IS STARTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU, A PART-TIME TEAM?
"In the Busch Series they're usually one of the cars to beat every time they go to a superspeedway, and I think Geoffrey (Bodine) finished second in the 500, or third. I know there are all kinds of circumstances. Every time those guys unload their car it's fast and now they're starting in the front of the pack. I look forward to the 09 to be there all night."
HOW DOES RCR GET IN A HOLE?
"Took out at Daytona by a wreck. That's where it starts. Then, start a third team. This is the thing. We didn't do anything different from the off-season. There are a lot of different scenarios that you can point at. Whether it's right or wrong, nobody knows. You start a third team, so how many motors do we need? How many cars do we need? The wreck at Daytona, we finished 14th at Rockingham, blew up in Las Vegas, and we wrecked and we wrecked. It's just been one thing after another. We went into the season with high hopes and we had all these different circumstances that were going on. .We're just now getting to the point where we can come in, it's not to say that everybody wasn't working hard, everybody has worked their guts out since the season ended last year. Still at this point they work seven days a week. Guys in the motor shop have probably worked just as hard as the guys in the fab shop. They've both made huge strides just to keep up and put the motors in the car. We just haven't had the time to go do the things that we needed to do and whether that's the reason or not. We've got this good stuff that we raced last year and we thought we made it better. It's just all these things add up, piles just keep getting bigger and we've just now started to knock the piles back down and get to the point where we can say, OK, we need to just tweak on this car a little bit, instead of, OK, this car is ruined so we got to go build a whole new car."